Scotland’s attainment gap is closing thanks to national fund, heads say

Scotland’s attainment gap is closing thanks to national fund, heads say

Three-quarters of school heads believe the attainment gap has started to close and almost all expect progress in the next five years as a result of national attainment funding, new research has shown.

An evaluation has been published on the first two years of the Attainment Scotland Fund, when £52 million was targeted at schools in the most deprived areas.

The research found that 78 per cent of head teachers surveyed saw improvements in tackling the attainment gap in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing as a result off the cash.

Nearly all head teachers (97 per cent) said they expect to see improvements over the next five years as a result of the funding.

The research also showed wide support for the aims of the fund, with schools reporting greater collaboration and a focus on improving teaching skills and practice.

There was also praise for the support provided by local authorities and Attainment Advisors in schools.

Deputy First Minister and education secretary John Swinney said: “The defining mission of this government is to raise school attainment and close the poverty-related gap, backed by £750 million of investment over the lifetime of this Parliament.

“It is heartening to see that progress is beginning to be made. For example Dundee’s attainment gap in reading narrowed between the first and second years of the fund. These are great results which show our course of action is the right one.

“I acknowledge the challenges to progress that exist and have been identified by schools and local authorities. We have already taken action to address these and will continue to listen to feedback.”

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